Paolo Bea 2014 'San Valentino' Umbria Rosso IGP
Item Number: 13986
Sub Region: Umbria
Appellation/AVA: Umbria IGP
Estate Grown Wine: Yes
Grape(s): 40% Sagrantino / 40% Sangiovese / 20% Montepulciano
Type: Wine - Red
Bottle Size: 750 ml
Alc by Vol(%): 12.5
Viticulture: Practicing Organic
Tasting Notes: The 2014 version of Bea’s beloved San Valentino is a bit of an outlier. Given the difficulties of the 2014 growing season—the second in a row in which downy mildew exerted enormous pressure—Giampiero was only able to produce a single red wine, constituting the scant viable bunches from his entire range of vineyard holdings. San Valentino is normally a single vineyard wine. Composed of 40% Sagrantino, 40% Sangiovese, and 20% Montepulciano, the 2014 San Valentino offers a classic Bea nose of subtle balsamic notes, brooding spices, and boisterous black fruits, yet it possesses a less massive structure than usual. Calling a Bea red elegant is a stretch, and in fact does a slight disservice to the exuberant wildness that is one of Giampero’s wines’ calling cards, but this version of San Valentino is indeed fairly light on its feet without exactly being polite. This 2014 is both somewhat atypical for its category yet unmistakably Bea at its core, and longtime fans of the estate will revel in its idiosyncratic nature as well as its pure deliciousness.
Vintage Notes: Giampiero’s wines always proudly display their vintage, and he pointedly resists striving for a consistent "product" from year to year. Two consecutive growing seasons, 2013 and 2014, brought widespread outbreaks of downy mildew to Bea’s vineyards, resulting in enormous losses: only a single wine, Arboreus, was produced in the particularly devastating 2013 vintage, and 2014 yielded just one red wine instead of the usual four—a blend of the viable fruit sourced from all his vineyards and labeled San Valentino. Giampiero is unwavering in his “take Nature as it comes” approach, and his scant production over these two years is merely a reflection of the immense difficulties his vineyards faced. The end results, however, are fascinating—honest reflections of challenging seasons that vary slightly from their typical expressions yet are Bea wines through and through.
Winemaking Notes: There is no green harvesting and no excessive sorting, as he wants each wine to reflect the entire season’s crop and not just a choice section; fermentations begin and end without being forced in either direction, thus varying in duration notably from vintage to vintage; and the wines are bottled when they’re deemed ready to be rather than according to some schedule, with the reds in particular generally spending upwards of four years in cask. There is no regulation of temperature, no pumping, no fining, and no filtering. Giampiero relies on patience, and plenty of it, to clarify his wines, and what is in the bottle is always a full-on reflection of the fruit and the story of the season that birthed it.